Updated: July 19, 2020 06:27 PM
Created: July 19, 2020 06:03 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Small animal rescues have been swamped with kittens and feral cats since COVID-19 hit, and it's worrying them that they might not be able to get it under control.
“These cats are out on the street, we have no place to bring them, and what ends up happening is that they're suffering,” says Kitten Korner Rescue Founder Laraine VanBlarcom.
VanBlarcom said ever since the start of the pandemic, they've been struggling to figure out what to do about the overwhelming amount of feral cats in the city.
“We’re just having an overcrowding problems," says VanBlarcom. "There's just so many cats in the city of Rochester and we are inundated."
VanBlarcom says they can't help them all, because as a smaller rescue they don't have the resources available.
“The vets are very overwhelmed it's really hard to get spayed [and] neutered services after COVID,” VanBlarcom says. “A lot of the clinics are only working at half time, so it’s really hard to get in and the vets that are helping us are just so stressed out because there's just so many cats that need help."
Lollypop Farm Vice President & COO Caitlin Daly says that when the pandemic hit, priorities had to shift.
“When COVID-19 first hit us, we were encouraged not to spay and neutered, because it wasn't an emergency surgery and places all over the nation needed those supplies and we were being encouraged not to use them so we did not,” Daly says.
Daly says now that has been relaxed and that they're aware of the problem and are trying to do what they can to help.
“We have been targeting areas where there are more feral cats than other areas and we have been spaying them and returning them if the owner is willing,” Daly says.
Daly says so far they've spayed over 500 so far this year and now are doing up to 50 a day. She says this effort is not something they can do without support.
“A lot of us are working until 7 p.m., 8 p.m. sometimes we don't even leave Lollypop until 10, and it takes a lot of resources,” Daly says.
If the problem continues, VanBlarcom said she fears there could be a population explosion.
“I think the thing that worries me the most is that we are seeing really in the last three years a lot more unhealthy mom cats and a big huge increase in unhealthy babies,” VanBlarcom says.
Daly says they are members of the Greater Rochester Animal Coalition and will have a follow-up meeting on July 24th to figure out how they can work together and help smaller rescues.
Copyright 2020 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company